February and “Me Mum”
February used to be such a happy month for me. So many people I love and cherish were born during this month. Seemingly each year I came into contact with another person to add to that list. Then the losses began; now I do good to survive the first two months of the year. Mentally I am drained and wrecked. I battle to be a part of the present and when I examine why, it makes perfect sense. I realize that I am not searching for logic instead I am trying very hard to soothe the hurt and rediscover the joy. Though it is not an easy task I have to make the effort each and every day, but then there is February. Specifically, this day February 6th.
I travel back to a time when it was a virtual block party on 107th Street from the first of February through the 19th. Plus, you get the added bonus of Valentine’s Day…there was love everywhere. I mused at the irony of new people entering my life and how they fit neatly into this month. The shortest month of the year and I looked forward to it almost more than I did my own birth month. The Aquarians dominated my life from my very beginnings…my little sister did her very best to be a part of that club making her debut into this life on the 31st of January and arguably the 19th which is my father and older brother’s birthdays…they get a pass to being a part of the February Aquarius Club. You cannot be around so many of these people for so many years and NOT become like them of at the very least know how to get along with them and how they work.
All that build up to get to a very special lady, my mother as we called her most of her life mom and I playfully referred to her “me mum”. The first thing I would want to tell you about her is she was TOUGH. If you were in a fight, battle, struggle you could not ask for a better ally. I never saw her in a physical altercation of any kind, but she demanded respect and a look from her would reduce you and cause you to retreat. Growing up I never saw her as pretty, because she would work in the yard or under the hood of a car with my dad without hesitation. However, my dad was in awe of her and her beauty. Dad admired her hair, her stature, her smile, and those beautiful teeth. After I became an adult, I was able to see her as a beautiful woman with gorgeous features. Mom was smart. Salutatorian of her class She had an associate degree that I discovered among papers after she passed away along with her speech. I recall her telling me she wanted to become a nurse and move to Alaska, before she met my dad. She gave up her aspirations when she met and married him, but not because of him, but because what she perceived as being a good wife and mother. She never looked back, nor did she have any regret.
I learned from simply watching her, but if I had a question she would readily and honestly answer. I always thought she favored my brothers, so I accepted it. Sometimes I would mildly try to challenge her with my version of reverse psychology, she’d play along with me and still put me in my place without anger. I found myself scratching my head wondering how the tables had been turned on me so effortlessly. Yet it was just another teaching moment. Mom made me strong, and she expected me to be just that STRONG. When she was in her final days, I was at the hospital with her, I started crying because we had spoken to her doctor, mom’s medical directive was in place and clear. Even though she was no longer able to speak she still had that look. She showed me a grimace that let me know she expected me to be strong. I said to her,” I am not as strong as you…” she kept frowning. I went into the bathroom washed my face dried my eyes. When I returned to her bedside, I looked at her, she gave me an approving nod.
I believe that she knew what I was going to have to deal with in the near future and I would not have time to be weak or vulnerable. I also think that she knew she would NOT be able to help me and her final gift to me was to reinforce the strength. When I tell you I have drawn on that strength repeatedly it is not an understatement. At the same time there are occasions, I know how much I want and need me mum with me so I could just collapse and cry. Then she could give me the reassurance she did, from my birth until her final days, that would let me know I would be okay, and I can go on. So HappyBirthday Mom, not a day goes by……